Half Waif: Lavender review – melancholic music that rings true

Mon, Apr 23, 2018, 15:42



Half Waif



Nandi Rose Plunkett (her American father is of Swiss/Irish descent, hence that tell-tale surname) shares her grief in a firm way. While the melancholic undertow of her music is as sweet as the flower her album is named after, there is a resolve in the lyrics that says: do not mess with me. The album title has more significant relevance, however: the death last year of her grandmother.

Themes of ageing and what Plunkett describes as “an examination of the way we fracture, inside ourselves and inside our relationships – the fissures that creep along the structures we build, the tendency towards disintegration” are filtered throughout. So far, so depressing. Yet she makes good use of her primary influences, which range from the reasonably obvious (Tori Amos) to the less so (Claude Debussy).

Irrespective of how successful the blend is (we’d claim 50/50), Plunkett’s songs do the most important work by ringing true: Lavender Burning (which directly alludes to a purification ritual of her grandmother’s), In the Evening, Slit, and Back in Brooklyn weave a hardy narrative spell that marks her out as a songwriter you’d be unwise to ignore.